Sixty-Five Years of Experience
Leo Le Bon, the “Grandfather of Adventure Travel,” is the co-founder of California-based Mountain Travel Sobek (now MtSobek), the company that launched the adventure travel industry.
Le Bon joined Thomas Cook World Travel in San Francisco in 1960. While there, he became one of the first travel professionals to get involved in outdoor travel by planning the first foreign outings to South America and Europe for the Sierra Club.
In 1967 Leo led the first commercial trek to Nepal, where he met Barry Bishop, one of the first Americans to climb Everest. Le Bon subsequently left his job at Thomas Cook to co-found Mountain Travel with Bishop and renown mountaineer Allen Steck.
Le Bon’s vision at Mountain Travel, where he was President and CEO until 1991, earned him a citation from Newsweek magazine as one of the 25 most prominent innovators in the U.S. From 1991 to 2003, Leo ran Le Bon & Associates, an adventure travel product development firm. Since 2005 he has been consulting with foreign tour operators and tourism board through Wanderlust Consulting.
Leo has traveled the world in search of new adventures and pioneered a number of destinations. Leo introduced adventurers to trekking in Nepal and foot safaris in Kenya, and opened new adventure travel destinations such as Tibet, China, Chile, Peru and Greenland. He literally has trekked, climbed, kayaked, skied and sailed the seven continents.
Leo has also authored three books: Majestic Mountains, Where Mountains Live, and The Adventurer’s Travel Guide. In 2005, Le Bon was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award from the Adventure Travel Trade Association for his many contributions to the industry over the past four decades.
Nadia Billia Le Bon was born in Italy. During her college years, she pursued hiking and climbing in the Alps and started her world travels in Afghanistan in the seventies. She eventually got her dream job as a trekking guide in the Himalayas.
In 1983 she organized the first Italian women-only climbing expedition to the Indian Himalaya. The following year, she moved to California and joined Mountain Travel Sobek (now MTSobek).
For 25 years, Nadia has managed operations and developed new trips to unique destinations, and eventually moved to marketing and PR. She retired in 2008 and joined Wanderlust Consulting, with a special focus on representing Mountain Lodges of Peru, a pioneering company that has developed lodge-to-lodge adventures to Machu Picchu.
Nadia has traveled to over 60 countries on all seven continents, explored remote mountain regions, kayaked and rafted from Alaska to Antarctica. She is a member of the Society of Woman Geographers and Women Travel Leaders. Her favorite activities include hiking, trekking, kayaking, botanical watercolors, and making new friends through travel.